An update from Clewer Director, Caroline Virgo
Yesterday evening I went for a walk with my children. There were not many people around (making it easy to walk and to socially isolate). As we returned home in the dusk, we passed a well-known view-point. We walk that way often, but yesterday evening it was unusually busy with a large number of cars and (predominantly) young men gathered. We walked along the pavement listening to the conversations and it appeared that the majority of the gathered people were either openly using or selling soft drugs.
Those of you who have engaged with our County Lines lent campaign may recognise the scenario.
I tell the story to illustrate that despite COVID-19, modern slavery is still with us. While the majority of the country are focused on the emerging health crisis, victims of modern slavery or those who are vulnerable will not disappear (though, brutally, they may be more at risk than those of us who have a secure income and families around us) and it is certain that at the end of this crisis there will still be a criminal group who wish to make a great deal of money out of the illegal treatment of others.
In a week of cancelled meetings and training courses the strategy of the Clewer team is evolving to meet the altered circumstances in which we all currently find ourselves.
In practise this means that we recognise that at the end of this crisis the modern slavery situation will still be with us and we are planning accordingly. We are already in the process of developing a number of projects including a communications strategy which will expand and deepen our electronic engagement (particularly within the Church), reshaping and re-releasing our car wash app, working with safeguarding consultants on the care of victims within the Church and developing advance planning for many Hidden Voices community mobilisation courses in the autumn.
Please do sign up to our newsletter, twitter account etc. so that as the current crisis wanes, as it will do, you will be able and ready to join with us in our continuing work against modern slavery.